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Feature Request: Boolean search

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Many threads on the forums mention Evernote’s search capability. While a singular AND or OR is possible, more advanced logic is not possible, as well as search multiple notebooks in one go. Most tips go for intermediate tagging of search results, and then search for that tag plus other criteria. As a networking-teacher of mine once said: You might be able to drive backwards up the on-ramp of a highway. But just because you can doesn’t make it a good idea, or that you should do it.

 
Most threads also end in "why don’t you enter a feature request, folklore has it that there’s someone from Evernote reading every post” and I wonder, why nobody does. So I do ;-)
 
This is not about one specific search that I’m stuck with, but a general request for better/boolean search, e.g.
 
( notebook = “recipe” OR notebook = “drinks” ) AND ( ( tag = “lime” OR tag = “lemon”) AND tag != “orange” )
 
All drinks and meals containing very sour citrus fruit, but not the sweeter oranges. I don’t want “Duck à l’orange” or some research for houses in Orange county. But I want a Gimlet.
 
Can we get enough people behind this to make Evernote feel the need for this?

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hi. nice suggestion. unlikely to happen, though, in my opinion. until such a feature comes, mac users can use spotlight or houdahspot (it uses the spotlight index with wonderful extra features piled on top). devonsphere creates its own index, has some ai features, and other goodies. devonthink, last i checked, will index all your evernote stuff as well. actually, there are many more tools out there. windows users? you're out of luck. sorry :(

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Many threads on the forums mention Evernote’s search capability. While a singular AND or OR is possible, more advanced logic is not possible, as well as search multiple notebooks in one go. Most tips go for intermediate tagging of search results, and then search for that tag plus other criteria. As a networking-teacher of mine once said: You might be able to drive backwards up the on-ramp of a highway. But just because you can doesn’t make it a good idea, or that you should do it.

 

As you've seen,  there have been lots of requests for improvement and harmonisation of the search features which haven't been implemented yet.  What you currently see is what you get;  so to borrow your quotation - if you don't have any other option,  and it's not going to damage your data,  reverse might be a good work-around.  (Suggesting those sorts of thing is what quite a few people around here do,  but don't get paid for.)

 

Most threads also end in "why don’t you enter a feature request, folklore has it that there’s someone from Evernote reading every post” and I wonder, why nobody does. So I do ;-)

 

Folklore is often a reasonably reliable guide to stuff that works and stuff that doesn't.  In this case I'd like to opt for the positive view...

 

EDIT:  GM'd!!  ;)

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Most threads also end in "why don’t you enter a feature request, folklore has it that there’s someone from Evernote reading every post” and I wonder, why nobody does. So I do ;-)

You may feel it to be folklore, but it's based on what Evernote employees say -- and they say it bluntly: "we read every post". Search the forums for that phrase, and you will certainly find many instances. Here's one: https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/23182-ability-to-resize-images/?p=242517. Feedback is valued by the team, again according to what they've said.

 

A stronger search query language would be welcome, but Evernote seems loath to change it very often; the last change I can remember was with respect to reminders, about a year and a half ago, but I could be wrong about that.

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Most threads also end in "why don’t you enter a feature request, folklore has it that there’s someone from Evernote reading every post” and I wonder, why nobody does. So I do ;-)

You may feel it to be folklore, but it's based on what Evernote employees say -- and they say it bluntly: "we read every post". Search the forums for that phrase, and you will certainly find many instances. Here's one: https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/23182-ability-to-resize-images/?p=242517. Feedback is valued by the team, again according to what they've said.

 

A stronger search query language would be welcome, but Evernote seems loath to change it very often; the last change I can remember was with respect to reminders, about a year and a half ago, bu tI could be wrong about that.

yeah. the search is pretty robust already, so i doubt they feel a burning need to change it for the relatively small percentage of users who understand or use buoy lane operators. i've never seen any indication that they plan to add it. i think there are even posts saying they don't want to... i'll try to dig that up.

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here's one.

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/15408-more-complex-search-with-andor-equivalent-operators/?p=129787

even though he doesn't work at evernote anymore (but does still read the forums!), his thoughts seem to be in line with the trend at evernote to avoid new features that aren't going to be used by lots of people. fortunately, some niche-like things are grandfathered in, like the plethora of sort options on wimdows. i wouldn't expect to get much traction with new niche things.

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here's one.

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/15408-more-complex-search-with-andor-equivalent-operators/?p=129787

even though he doesn't work at evernote anymore (but does still read the forums!), his thoughts seem to be in line with the trend at evernote to avoid new features that aren't going to be used by lots of people. fortunately, some niche-like things are grandfathered in, like the plethora of sort options on wimdows. i wouldn't expect to get much traction with new niche things.

Hah, maybe that's the reason he's not here any more: he was holding back the progress on the "Grand New All-Improved Work-Chat-Compatible Evernote Search (now with BOOLEANS!!!)" feature.

 

(Sorry dlu, I kid. Frequently. :))

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Boolean would be nice, I could use..  Not sure what the fear is from the user side other than maybe explaining results if folks don't get it.  I mean, any and all exist and from the lay perspective it's just combining the two, oversimplified I know.  Simple use case, assuming tags or keywords that make sense, search all insurance for car A or car B.  Anyhoo, we have learned how to live without it to this point.   ;)

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Plus, IMO, Evernote of the past year seems to be avoiding things that make the app work "harder" (like GM's zero knowledge notebook encryption or...have I mentioned Evernote doesn't scale well at all???) in favor of more "sexy" features like chat. 

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I think it's fair to say that the new work chat and note-locking facilities *do* make Evernote work harder to some degree. Fixing its scalability everywhere, should be a priority, though, in my opinion.

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I think it's fair to say that the new work chat and note-locking facilities *do* make Evernote work harder to some degree. Fixing its scalability everywhere, should be a priority, though, in my opinion.

 

"harder" may not have been the best word, but it's the best one I could think of.  I'm sure the chat required a lot of dev time & all.  But I do think the current bent is towards sexy, glitzy stuff rather than expanding on the things that attracted 100+ million users or at least the first 80 million.  It's their playpen, though, so certainly their choice to do whatever they want. 

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Yah, I do understand. I do see the Work Chat thing as being a natural extension of the Evernote we know and love(d), just in a particular direction. The scalability and spate of syncing problems are different matters; that goes to the requirement for a rock-solid and -- dare I use the word -- performant underlying system

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In my opinion, a knowledge-sponge like EN can be judged by two metrics.

a) how easy is it to get stuff into it? (=writing, styling, importing, tagging)

B) how easy is it to get stuff out of it? (=search)

 

Denying the combination of an OR with an AND is unfriendly and just making B) hard for anyone that doesn't have a single-hitword search. But as is seems, the pain is not big enough. 

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I agree that the scalability issue with evernote is going to become more prevalent as the average note count increases for people. It's one thing to search your 100 note library without advanced search capability. It's quite another to search your 10,000 note library. Presumably Evernote employees are actually using Evernote like the rest of us, right?

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I'm currently close to 20,000 notes and my searches work pretty well.  I can usually get down to a list of 40 or so notes and find the ones I want visually within a couple of clicks.  Boolean would be nice,  but its absence is workable around for me.

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While some may not perceive the need for, or realize the value of, a full boolean search in Evernote, there are many, many of us who do.

This has been requested by many, many users since at least 2011, and I think longer.

Just do a google search on "evernote boolean search" and you will see many threads.

 

To be clear, there is NO work-around in Evernote that will achieve the same result.

Contrary to some statements, it is not that hard to understand and use.

 

ATTN Evernote Team:  Please give us full boolean search.

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I think my earlier comments are still relevant.

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/78697-feature-request-boolean-search/?p=330784

Do "ordinary" folks like your mom, boss, or person-on-the-street know what boolean means? No? Then Evernote probably isn't going to put it into the app. Ordinary folks probably also don't know about zero-knowledge encryption, scalability, or feature parity either. I think that whatever complexity we have now is what we're going to get.

Mac users can do a boolean search by using spotlight ir one of its front ends like houdahspot. Personally, even with more than ten thousand notes in my account, I didn't need it much. It would have been nice to have, but not critical for me, especially with the existence of easily available workarounds on the Mac.

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I think my earlier comments are still relevant.

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/78697-feature-request-boolean-search/?p=330784

Do "ordinary" folks like your mom, boss, or person-on-the-street know what boolean means? No? heThen Evernote probably isn't going to put it into the app..

. . .

Personally, even with more than ten thousand notes in my account, I didn't need it much.

 

Whether or not any user knows what boolean means is irrelevant.

Your logic for Evernote not providing it doesn't follow.

 

Using the words "OR" and "AND" is fairly common in speech, so, IMO, most anyone can quickly pick up on the concept.

 

IAC, learning how to use boolean search is easily done with just a few clear examples.

 

Just because you don't see a need for it doesn't mean it shouldn't be provided.

 

Evernote's new marketing campaign is to use Evernote as your main productivity tool, to always be in Evernote.

Having boolean search helps keep us there.

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Seems to me the usual rules apply here - it's Evernote's game,  and they get to decide.  If their own user testing suggest this feature is required,  they'll no doubt provide it.  If not...

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I'm not sure if there is, or that we know, any "usual rules" when it comes to Evernote.

 

You can state the obvious that Evernote, like any software developer, will decide what features they choose to provide.

But it is not clear that this is always driven by user demand.  Quite to the contrary, it seems it is more often driven by what the senior management, perhaps just the CEO, deem needed or important.

 

Yet there are a number of cases where users have requested a particular feature for a long time, consistently put down by the nay-sayers, and then, unexpectedly, Evernote releases the feature.  Basic image management (resize, rotate, etc) and image annotations are examples.

 

So, I encourage everyone who would like a particular feature to make their views known, and continue to make requests for that feature until it is delivered.

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Seems to me the usual rules apply here - it's Evernote's game,  and they get to decide.  If their own user testing suggest this feature is required,  they'll no doubt provide it.  If not...

 

Yeah. And, I guess that is probably why they have not introduced it yet. I'm sure they think about this stuff before they pour resources into development and roll something out.

 

The logic seems pretty clear to me: if they don't think it is going to get used by huge numbers of people, it isn't going into the app. I don't always agree with the decisions that result from this kind of thinking, but this appears to be one of their stated/unstated rules. The forums are only a teeny-tiny number of people in the 100 million + Evernote user universe, and while it is important for us to voice our opinions here, we cannot expect that Evernote will agree with us just because we say we want something. I don't think this means Evernote is "wrong" or that it isn't "listening" when they don't agree. That's just life. People don't always see eye to eye on things.

 

In the case of boolean, besides fellow researchers, I don't think I have ever seen anyone use the searches in the wild. It's not about "easy" or "hard" -- it's easy to build a computer and easy to code. Rather, it's about people not being that into it. As long as regular folks aren't into it, I think it is unlikely to get much traction.

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In the case of boolean, besides fellow researchers, I don't think I have ever seen anyone use the searches in the wild. It's not about "easy" or "hard" -- it's easy to build a computer and easy to code. Rather, it's about people not being that into it. As long as regular folks aren't into it, I think it is unlikely to get much traction.

 

I doubt that your anecdotal experience has any statistical significance.

 

As Apple has proven time and time again, if you provide a great tool, make it easy to use, and offer reasonable documentation, users can quickly learn and take advantage of the tool.

 

The current Evernote Search grammar is very non-standard, difficult to understand and use.  Yet many users have been able to learn and use it.

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